Courtenay's cemetery innovations continuing

The City of Courtenay continues to offer new ways to remember loved ones at the Courtenay Civic Cemetery.

Council gave first, second and third readings to amendments to the city's Cemetery Management Bylaw last week. These changes reflect the most recent options available to the public, including an upright monuments section and natural granite memorial boulders with a bronze plaque.

The new Cemetery Management Bylaw was adopted in 2009. Since that time, many additional services have been made available to the public at the cemetery at 4768 Island Highway based on market trends and public input.

"We're offering a couple more services per requests from the public, some memorial boulders, which I think will be popular, as well as a new upright markers section on the east side of the cemetery — some cultures prefer an upright marker," said John Ward, the city's manager of corporate administration. "It's basically changing with the times and adding some services people have requested."

Councillors praised city staff members for their work in this area.

"It's been a difficult task, and I see the progress being made here, and I just want to commend our staff for the process they've undergone," said Coun. Jon Ambler. "I think it's gone very well, and I know it's not been an easy task."

"I think they're trying to respond to different needs," added Coun. Larry Jangula. "I appreciate that we're trying to encompass all of these things."

The bylaw also sets out the fees for the Courtenay Civic Cemetery.

Staff is reviewing fees annually to ensure they are in line with operating costs and market conditions, Ward noted in his report to council.

"An incremental fee increase for cremation plots is recommended at this time to be more in line with market conditions; however, our fee remains substantially lower than other cemeteries in the area," he wrote.

A full review of cemetery fees will be conducted in 2012.

Ground burial fees for residents are $120 for scattering, $585 for a cremation lot, $783 for an infant or stillborn lot, $1,947 for a casket lot in Section U, and $1,847 for a casket lot. These fees include the costs of preparation and placement and a Care Fund contribution.

Grave space is more expensive for non-residents.

For the columbarium, it costs residents $1,100 or $900.

For memorials, the initial ground marker setting fee is $150, while columbarium bronze memorials are $450 and $125 for a second name scroll.

A bronze memorial on the scattering board costs $200.

The new memorial boulders, which include a bronze plaque, are $800 for residents and $1,600 for non-residents, with a second plaque costing $300.

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